Signs #11 – What’s the Problem?
What do overseas visitors make of Australia’s more esoteric pictorial instructions? Space constraints mean non-English wording is often limited – or non-existent! So the sign designer is stuck with conveying important, but sometimes obscure facts and instructions with stick figures.
Their success necessarily relies on reader ability to immediately interpret the pictures correctly and heed their warnings and messages without the benefit of English comprehension.
It’s an interesting exercise to test the clarity of the more cryptic drawings by ignoring the accompanying text – and any other linguistic clues – while trying to work out what they mean. And the result isn’t always what the signmaker intended!!
So … it was a relief that at least THIS sign at the Kanyaka Ruins Woolshed gave four VERY clear pictorial messages!
And these are, as I’m sure you’ll agree, from left to right:
- Perform your headstands in the space between buildings
- The bollards are floodlit to prevent you bumping into them
- The wall is as good a protection as any from errant seaspray
- Way-station for endurance ice skating/skiing
Or maybe not??
If my interpretation is wrong, it’s a testament to the perils of either monolingualism, or weathering – or both! But if I’m right? Well … the South Australian State Government need fear no reprisals from accident, injury or death arising from failure to heed the warnings!!
So what do YOU think the sign means??